The Welsh government has banned the shooting of several birds under new general licences. Due to come into force on 7 October 2019, there are also new restrictions on shooting carrion crow, magpie, jackdaw, rook, jay, Canada goose, collared dove and wood pigeon.
These are the changes to bird species on the new general licences:
GL001 – Prevention of serious damage to crops and livestock. This will no longer include collared dove, jay or rook.
GL002 – Preservation of public health. This will no longer include carrion crow, collared dove, jackdaw, jay, magpie, rook or wood pigeon.
GL004 – Conservation of wild birds. This will no longer include Canada goose, feral pigeon or rook. The purpose of this general licence will be restricted to the conservation of the chicks and eggs of only those wild bird species listed in an Annex at the end of the general licence. This list will include grey partridge and red grouse, but not pheasant or French partridge.
This film shows the kind of damage rooks do to crops:
The changes have come about even though Chris Packham’s Wild Justice group did not launch a legal challenge on general licences in Wales.
There are also restrictions within or near protected sites in the new general licences. You will not be allowed to control pest birds within 300 metres of, 203 protected sites in Wales. In addition, for one protected site – the Dyfi Estuary SSSI – the General Licences will not apply within 500 metres of the site boundary.
Commenting on the new general licences in Wales, David Pooler, North Wales chairman of the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation, says:“This will be a disaster for rural Wales, making the jobs of gamekeepers, farmers and pest controllers more difficult at the very time when rapidly declining wildlife in the Welsh countryside needs all the help it can get.
“Natural Resources Wales has run scared of a non-existent legal threat, rushing through a set of ill-considered and over precautionary licences that will stop people doing what they need to do and harm the very biodiversity that NRW is supposed to look after.”